US to withdraw Patriot missile system from Turkey
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US to withdraw Patriot missile system from Turkey

Joint statement says air-defense units can be swiftly returned to defend the NATO member state if needed

Former US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter with troops next to a Patriot anti-missile battery on the Turkish-Syrian border in February, 2013. (photo credit:  Glenn Fawcett/ US Department of Defense)
Former US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter with troops next to a Patriot anti-missile battery on the Turkish-Syrian border in February, 2013. (photo credit: Glenn Fawcett/ US Department of Defense)

ANKARA, Turkey — The United States is withdrawing its Patriot missile system deployed near Turkey’s border with Syria when its mandate expires in October.

A joint Turkish and US announcement said Sunday that the air-defense units could be returned to Turkey within a week if the need arises. It said US navy ships would be present in the Mediterranean to support Turkey’s defense.

The US, Germany and others deployed the batteries in 2013 to protect NATO ally Turkey after shells fired from Syria landed in the country.

The US decision comes a day after Germany said it would withdraw some 250 troops stationed in Turkey when the mandate for their air-defense mission ends next year. Germany said the main threat in the region came from the Islamic State group which doesn’t possess missiles.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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